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Political Correctness: America’s Disease

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Political Correctness: America’s Disease

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We are growing up in an age where free speech is being traded for political correctness. Everything you post, every word you speak, even your own thoughts have to align with what is socially acceptable for all groups of people. I argue this idea of political correctness has gotten extremely out of hand.

Political correctness, or PC, is defined as, the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people. When I read this definition, I first think, what are specific expressions that exclude or insult people? Examples of this kind of insulting behavior I have found include cultural appropriation, hate speech, offensive humor, and many others.

There is no inherent problem with the base idea of PC as it is defined, but in practice, PC is an impossible goal and something that has evolved into suppressing freedom of speech.

Living life as an individual is bound to upset someone and make them uncomfortable. This kind of political micromanagement that comes with PC is ludicrous. Nobody’s views are going to line up perfectly with another person. This strive for acceptance by everyone is simply impossible.

America is a melting pot of different cultures and customs; what might be offensive to a Japanese person might be completely acceptable to a Russian person. People are defined by the way they were raised, humor is different to everyone, and what is okay to say publicly is connected strongly to familial values. Trying to regulate so many different types of beliefs under one social law goes against the diversity that America was built on.

Trying to regulate humor, speech, and personal style to a large extent is just simply wrong. PC is trying to protect culture by suppressing and segregating culture. PC is fueling the fire it seeks to destroy. By separating groups of people and making “rules” for each type of people, there will be no understanding between the ever-growing divide between them.

Someone who doesn’t think gay marriage should be legal, whether you think that’s right or not, has the right to say that, just like you have the right to disagree. Although legal action cannot be taken against those people yet, even talk of being able to censor people’s speech legally is extremely dangerous. The ability to silence someone in the wrong hands would be catastrophic to America’s democracy.

PC also segregates people with different political views. When everything you say is like walking on eggshells, you seek the people who are similar to you. People, now more than ever, are seeking others that they know they will not offend. This creates a political echo chamber that more young people are being funneled into because they are too afraid to express how they feel.

Companies are now, due to PC, censoring free speech to appeal to the public. One of these companies is YouTube. YouTube has been accused of demonetizing videos made by conservative-leaning YouTubers. Demonetization prevents a video from receiving ad revenue, which was a huge hit to many YouTubers’ profits. Many of these channels were forced to shut-down because what they were saying was controversial and not PC. This created a lean towards the left that you see present on YouTube to this day. This is a concerning issue because, according to Pew Research Center, 38% of people who watch YouTube get their news from there.

In YouTube’s desperate attempt for PC content, they are controlling what the youth see. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with YouTube taking down videos that violate their terms and service such as violent and threatening content. However, there is a problem when their only reason for taking down videos is that they might offend people. This creates the ultimate political echo chamber where the only thing that it succeeds at is making hatred stronger and making freedom of speech more a thing of the past.

We live in a country where politics are divided by an ever-growing expanse of ocean. Both sides scream at the other as loud as they can, but both refuse to listen. The screams from both sides have overtaken family dinners, schools, workplaces, and friend groups. Political correctness does not change what people think, it only changes what they can say. If nobody ever says how they feel in fear of judgment, then the issues that plague our country will never find resolve. Ideas will just be internalized and bottled up, making it harder to address the hatred people are harboring.

The true issue with political correctness is that it is an unobtainable utopia. It would be nice if everyone would be respectful to each other and feel the same way no matter their background, but this idea of universal manners is more regressive than it is progressive. Hate is not chronic; it can only be fixed with conversation and understanding. Political correctness is like putting a bandage over a bullet wound; the disease of hatred will spread, and with the bandage of PC tightly wrapped around it, we will never know it’s killing us until it’s too late.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Political Correctness: America’s Disease”

  1. Tony Mattone on February 20th, 2019 3:47 pm

    @covcath

  2. Denise Swenson Dato on February 21st, 2019 11:55 am

    Beautifully said. I wish more young people saw things in this manner. We are losing our voice more and more each day. Thank you for showing the absurdity of PC so eloquently

  3. Sarah on February 26th, 2019 12:54 pm

    The first amendment of the United States was created to protect numerous rights, including free speech. However, there are many misperceptions about what free speech actually protects, so let’s break it down.

    The actual language of the first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” This means that the government cannot restrict speech based solely upon what that speech states. There are, of course, numerous exceptions, notably, speech that creates a “clear and present danger.” In the past, this has been used to justify the jailing of draft evaders or people criticizing war efforts.

    So how is political correctness restricting anybody’s free speech? Hint: it’s not. Actually, it is an exhibition of this principle that people cling so dearly to in order to decry it. How so, you may ask? Well, here’s how.

    Let’s take a look at the Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville in 2017. For context, an alt-right group decided to organize in order to prevent Confederate monuments from being taken down. A counter-protest group showed up to show their own ideas about why the monuments should be taken down. This is an example of how free speech works. People are allowed to have their opinions, and they can express them peacefully, and people are allowed to disagree. That is the sole purpose of protecting free speech.

    Now, the Unite the Right rally was not an example of political correctness, but the same principles that applied to the counter-protest group are applicable to so-called “PC culture.” Almost all speech is protected, and disagreements are encouraged to happen.

    Another reason I find issue with decrying “PC culture” is that it is often used to shift away conversation that should be happening. For example, if one person is in an argument with another about why something is racist, the person can simply respond by claiming “oh this PC culture has gone too far! What about free speech? What about my right to say something?” without seeing the hypocrisy of their own ideology. Free speech does in fact protect the ability to say hurtful or racist things, BUT, it also protects the right to speak out against it.

    Another aspect that I feel many people misunderstand is how regulated speech already is. If you speak differently with your friends than you would with a parent, that is a form of societal speech regulation, yet nobody calls that PC. People talk with a teacher or boss with a higher level of respect than they would a sibling because of expectations, and these expectations are beneficial to society as a whole. If people were able to disregard their boss or teacher, then they would not be able to be as productive. So my question is what is the difference between this expectation and what is decried as “PC culture”?

    In my opinion, people do not want to do meaningful self reflection of how what they say has consequences. Every action has consequences. if I were to punch somebody, that person would probably not want to interact with me in the future. Following this same logic, if I were to call somebody a racial slur or insinuate that their way of existing is not valid, they would most likely not want to interact with me. And, if I punched somebody and they fought back, are they really to blame? In the same way, if somebody fights back against the words I said to them, are they suddenly in the wrong because it makes me uncomfortable to confront my words?

    I do not believe so. I agree with you that we need to listen to one another and reach an empathetic viewpoint of other perspectives, but if these perspectives include tearing people down on the basis of biological conditions that are out of ones’ control, there is no way to have empathy for that. Racism should not be tolerated to uphold a flawed perception of what free speech is. Instead, people should realized that decrying PC culture is shutting down a relevant and necessary conversation that could help us reach an actual understanding of other people and their experiences.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Political Correctness: America’s Disease